Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Interview with a Sports Blogger: Aaron Torres (

Whenever possible, I'll be posting Q&A with sports bloggers. The goal is to get to know the players in the industry and celebrate those dominating their niche online. Interested? Email or @ mention me.

CT's finest, Aaron Torres, pens the general sports blog and hosts his own podcast, where he can be found equating college football to The Departed and Bill Walton to the Most Interesting Man in the World. Guests have included media members from Yahoo!, CBS Sports and Sports Illustrated.

He recently defended all sports bloggers -- you should thank him on Twitter!

He reps a pass-through state, but Aaron's here to stay. Let's find out why...

On You

Tell us about yourself.
For better or worse, I'm a Connecticut guy. Grew up here, attended UConn, and for the time being, still live here. Graduated from UConn in 2007, with a degree in journalism.

Favorite teams?
Even before I went to UConn, I was a UConn basketball fan. most of my earliest memories watching sports feature UConn, including the famous "Allen vs. Allen" Big East Tournament game in 1996.

As for other sports, I love the Red Sox, but I don't know if it's fair to call myself a "die-hard."

[...] Also, I grew up a Hartford Whalers fan and attended plenty of games there. When they left, I stopped following hockey but recently pledged my allegiance to the Washington Capitals.

Favorite Sport?
College football is my favorite sport hands down. Yet, there's something disappointing to the end of every season. I'm going to take a controversial stand here and say it reminds me of the movie The Departed. The first two hours were great, and then the writers had no idea how to end it. That's like college football. The first three and a half months are great, then nothing happens for a month, and then we crown a champion. Just kinda weird.

Either way, college football is my favorite sport, but I can't deny that college basketball's postseason is probably my favorite sporting event.

Best sports memory?
I was in Madison Square Garden for the six-overtime UConn-Syracuse game. Incredible night, but I don't know if I'd call it my "best" memory. being in Houston this year for the Final Four when UConn won the title was probably my best memory.

If you could interview one athlete for your blog, whom would you select?
Bill Walton, hands down. If there's a more interesting person on Earth, I'd like to meet him.

Why do you love writing?
It's funny because I got a degree in journalism. Everyone told me, "You're good at writing, you like sports -- be a sports writer." The problem was, I didn't fully enjoy writing at the time.

However, after graduating, I didn't really write for about a year and only got back into it by accident. That year away [from it] really made me appreciate the fact that I'm kind of good at it, but it also made me appreciate the craft itself. If I hadn't done that, I don't think I'd still be writing today.

On Your Blog

Describe your blog in one sentence to new readers.
Well, my motto is, "We ain't talking about practice, but we are talking about everything else." Don't know if that makes sense, but it's catchy.

When did you start blogging? What made you decide to launch your first?
I started blogging almost by accident in the fall of 2008, when I quit a job I hated and really had nothing better to do. One job led to another, then to another, and now you can find my work all over the Internet.

Whether the writing is actually any good or not, I'll leave up to you...

What are your biggest challenges in extending readership?
Being independent, the biggest challenge is just getting people to come back to my site. It's not that I think my product isn't good (quite the opposite actually), it's just that peoiple get busy and don't think to themselves, "Huh, I wonder what the heck Aaron is writing about today."

[...] It happens. I wish things were different. Then again, I also wish I looked like mark Sanchez. Sadly, neither is changing.

What's the niche you're trying to dominate with your blog? What makes your blog unique?
The only niche I'm trying to dominate is one with smart readers who are looking for intelligent conversation and debate. I'm not going to make tasteless or offensive jokes. I'm not going to feature a "Babe of the Day." And truthfully, that stubbornness is probably impacting my site's ability to grow even faster.

I was talking to my buddy Gene who runs Favre Dollar Footlongs, and we both agreed to the same thing: when we write, we want to make you think about something in a way you've never thought about it before. I hope that I do that.

On Blogging

What's your take on the divide between "traditional" media and bloggers? What's the stigma around bloggers, and is it still warranted?

I think it's like anything else: if you prove your worth and prove you have an intelligent take on things, you'll earn respect.

Have sports bloggers "arrived" as an accepted group of media members?
Based on what I've seen, I'd say yes. Yahoo!, ESPN, CBS Sports and NBC all have extensive blog networks on their sites. Guys like Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) and the Puck Daddy are as respected as anyone in the industry.

What new tools, sites and networks have caught your eye that can help sports bloggers?
Really, just Twitter. It is an amazing thing. I use it for a million different things, but most importantly, to connect with people that I otherwise wouldn't have access to.

Thanks to Aaron for his contribution! Get your PhD in sports debate over on his site!

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